Why are Fitness-studios so mean? ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

Why are Fitness-studios so mean?

skitched-20080127-135446.jpgI have a general philosophy on restrictive business-model: that particular business (or industry) is in pain. Much like when you drive an animal into a corner, it will quickly start bearing its teeth and drawing the line.

I spent today searching for a gym close to me (healthy body = healthy mind), and most of what I met were restrictions and crazy prices, mostly summarised by:

limited opening times (don't people train on weekends?); a fat one-time-only entry-fee; multi-month/year lock-ins; and prices charged per 4 weeks instead of per month.
So is the fitness-industry in trouble or is there another reason? I have some theories.
  1. Low price-elasticity due to the health-boom

  2. Too much competition - but it's not like barbers, which are on every corner, are trying to lock me into a 1-year contract.

  3. Too little competition - more likely (see point 4)

  4. Expensive cost-structure - likely, I imagine it's much higher than for other retail/entertainment-venues.

  5. Low education entry-barrier, translating into uncreative business models

  6. Extensive government-restrictions - seriously, what's with the stupid opening-times? High insurance-requirements also likely.

Anything I missed ???

What I want, and sort of found, is the classic model: sweaty seats, instructors who growl at you when asked a stupid question, lots and lots of free weights, and if possible some over-muscular body-building chicks to compare muscle-size with. I'd also like the ability to pay per month, as well as a gym that opens before 8 a.m. (but that apparently is asking for too much).

P.S. Finally found something in that sort of fits the bill (see pic). Classic Gym Rotterdam. I'll be joining tomorrow.


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